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The web is A Good Thing but it has transformed nerds into cultural heroes, which is A Bad Thing!

Book Review: Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS by Ian Lloyd

The broad global acceptance of the World Wide Web and the potential it offers each and every one of us, whether you want a simple personal site or a richly featured professional site, has been truly empowering on a global scale.  Unfortunately, one of the unwanted side effects of such a powerful but still primitive technology has been to transform the role of nerd from spotty-oik-at-the-back-of-the-class to something approaching a scary cross between car mechanic and superjock. This is because most software, whether open source like WordPress or proprietary like Microsoft, is about as user-friendly as Spanish verbs or calculus.

There is now a new hope in the shape of this useful and easy-to-read book. Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS walks the willing student, be they dilettante dabbler or serious wannabe, through an easy sequence of steps, using nothing more complex than a basic text editor, that build up into a set of practical site construction skills. This book may well shift the balance of power back towards us "normal" folk!

As you may well already know, necessity is the mother of invention and, despite lacking any formal computer training, I decided last year to find interesting ways to supplement my income by using the web. Having the desire is one thing but the ability to make it happen is quite another and without some grasp of the basic techniques of website construction, no new Internet-based business can ever get off the ground.

The options come down to these: 1) find a nerdy partner, 2) pay a freelancer, or 3) do it yourself. A combination of lack of said nerd and funds allied with a bloody-minded streak a mile wide have led me steadily if reluctantly to the self-help option. This book makes that possible, even for an anti-geek like me. This book is so good, so well-written and helpful that I'm hoping the day when I never have to suffer using poor or downright incompetent technical support or beg favours off nerdian friends again has come into view!

Experienced webmasters too may be surprised to find there is much to be learned from this book, particularly given the author's view that "Web developers the world over have learnt bad habits… they often produce pages that are inflexible, slow to download and difficult to maintain, but like a badly taught driver… many developers find these outdated habits difficult to break… In this book you'll learn the right way to do things."

The right way of doing things is a full, easy-to-understand set of exercises covering how to build a site using HyperText Markup Language (HTML is the basic code or language used to build a website) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS is a language used in conjunction with HTML and helps your site look better).

Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way is a hands-on guide that does exactly what it says on the cover. It's not a detailed design guide but rather focuses on the basic techniques that anybody who's not afraid of a little bit of hard work can acquire without too much distress. Written by Ian Lloyd and published in the USA by Australian company SitePoint, this book is a great example of the international nature of the interweb and you can even download the first four chapters for free or get further advice and support through the SitePoint Forums.

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